Should mclaren enter a third car in the indycar series in 2022, nico Hulkenberg is the top candidate for a cockpit
(motorsport-total.Com) – on 25. October 2021 nico Hulkenberg opens a new chapter in his racing career. At barber motorsports park, the long-time formula 1 driver will test an indycar for the first time for mclaren SP. And if this test is successful, Hulkenberg has a good chance of winning a race cockpit with the U.S. offshoot of the Formula 1 team.
Nico hulkenberg tests an indycar zoom for the first time on Monday
"Nico wants to see what indycars is all about, and we’ll see how nico gets on", mclaren ceo zak brown tells the english-language edition of ‘motorsport’.Com’ the target for the test. "And that will all be part of the process when we consider who might sit in a third car. Nico is at the top of the list", brown continues.
Hulkenberg himself is looking forward to his first outing in an indycar. "Of course I’m looking forward to driving again", he tells the english edition of ‘motorsport.Com’. "Since I jumped in at the last minute at the Nurburgring last year, I haven’t sat behind the wheel for a year."
Hulkenberg: Formula 1 train has left the station
Since then, Hulkenberg, who is a reserve driver for mercedes and aston martin in formula 1 this season, has been busy planning his family, getting married and becoming a father. At the same time, he is also working on a return to the racing cockpit, because at 34 years of age he doesn’t want to hang up his helmet just yet.
"It is already the case that it is in the right foot still a bit tickling", says Hulkenberg in an interview with ‘sky. "I already miss the adrenaline, the competition, these spikes of excitement. Formula 1 I think the train has sailed, and that’s why I have to look for another, cool alternative. And i think i got it with indycar."
If Hulkenberg were to join mclaren, however, he would not contest the entire indycar season. A third car alongside regular drivers patricio o’ward and felix rosenqvist would only allow the team to compete in individual races.
Mclaren: no full-time program with third car in 2022
"We will definitely not be putting in a third car full time [next] year.", confirmed brown. "We will run one car in indianapolis and we intend to bring a third car again later in the year. 2023 we want to have a full time program with the third car."
Under these conditions, a racing debut for Hulkenberg with mclaren in the indycars would be a long time coming. For the german rules out a direct entry on the fast oval of indianapolis.
"i probably won’t jump right into the deep end and drive those superspeedways either", says Hulkenberg. "I will start small. First a test and then a race in these small, slower ovals. This is certainly something we are not used to in europe and where you first have to acclimatize a bit."
the contact between Hulkenberg and mclaren was mediated by andreas seidl, the team principal of the formula 1 team. He and Hulkenberg know each other from their time together at porsche, which culminated in overall victory at the 24 hours of le Mans in 2015. "Andreas introduced me to nico", confirmed brown. "You have a good past. Andreas helps when and where he can, if he can do me a favor."